Three charged over Australian stockbroker collapse

SYDNEY, Jan 11, 2010 (AFP) - Australia's corporate regulator said Monday it had charged three former directors of the failed Melbourne stockbroking group Opes Prime with breaching their duties.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said directors Lirim 'Laurie' Emini, Julian Smith and Anthony Blumberg had been charged and ordered to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court later this month.

"Emini, Smith and Blumberg have each been charged with two offences of breaching their duties as directors of OPSL and two offences of breaching their duties as directors of Opes Prime Group Limited (OPGL)," ASIC said.

Opes Prime Stockbroking Limited (OPSL), one of Australia's most high-profile collapses of the global financial crisis, was placed in administration in March 2008 owing creditors 630 million dollars (586 million US).

In a statement, ASIC alleged that the Opes Prime directors were intentionally dishonest and failed to exercise their powers and discharge their duties in good faith in the best interests of their companies.

"It is further alleged that Messieurs Emini, Smith and Blumberg dishonestly used their position as directors of OPGL and OPSL with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for themselves or for someone else," it added.

Each offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Source: AFP

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